Pell City to provide water, sewer services outside the city
by David Atchison
PELL CITY — The city will provide water and sewer services to property outside the city.

City Manager Patrick Draper said there have been requests from people outside the city who want city water, and the city has plenty of it to sell.

The city has four wells in operation and must buy 750,000 gallons of water a day from the Coosa Valley Water Supply District, of which it is a member.

Draper said those not living in the city but who want to receive city water or sewer services will pay more for water and sewer than those customers living inside the city.

“Water and sewer rates for usage by customers located outside the corporate limits of the city shall be at 1.43 times the rates established for customers located inside the corporate limits of the city in the City of Pell City Water and Sewer Rate and Fee Schedule,” an ordinance recently passed by the council states. The ordinance allows the city to provide water and sewer service to real property outside the corporate limits of the city.

Draper said if another city, entity or utility company outside the city wanted to buy water from the city, the city would negotiate a competitive rate because of the amount of water purchased from the city.

He said the city would negotiate a contract based on the unit cost per 1,000 gallons of water.

Draper said the ordinance recently passed by the council focuses on individuals who want to tap onto the city’s water system.

He said customers living outside the city would not qualify for low-income senior citizen discounts provided by the city ordinance.

“Applicants seeking the provision of water or sewer service to real property located outside the corporate limits of the city shall be assessed the Sewer Impact Fees and Water Capital Recovery Fees …” the ordinance states. “… Applicants seeking the provision of water or sewer service to real property located outside the corporate limits of the city shall be responsible for all infrastructure improvements necessary to provide water or sewer service to the said property and shall pay for said infrastructure improvements as a condition precedent of receiving water or sewer service from the city.”

Both Draper and city contract engineer Byron Woods with Municipal Consultants of Birmingham said the Dye Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant could handle much more waste since the city has rehabilitated the city’s sewer system to help prevent infiltration of rain water.

In the past decade, the city has spent close to $30 million on sewer rehabilitation and upgrades to the Dye Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Woods said by conservative estimates less than 70 percent of the plant’s capacity is being used to treat and discharge treated waste water from the plant.

“We have 30 percent of the capacity remaining,” he said.

Draper said it would take a lot more sewer customers to reach the point of another sewer expansion at the Dye Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Woods said the city has not experienced a sewer overflow since April 2011.

In 2006, the city was fined by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management after state officials witnessed major sewer overflows from the city’s sewer system.

In accordance with a consent agreement reached between the city and ADEM, the city was required to complete certain work to eliminate sewer overflows. The city was required to complete all work outlined in the consent order by September 2012.

In accordance with the consent order, ADEM could have levied daily fines between $100 and $300 if the city had not completed the required work by certain dates.

Officials said sewer overflows were caused because of heavy rain that infiltrated the sewer system. Contract workers have relined certain damaged or broken sewer lines to help prevent infiltration of rain water into the system.

Officials said the Dye Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant was also upgraded, and larger sewer pipes and lift stations were installed to better handle the flow of sewer to the waste water treatment plant.

“We have the pipes in the ground to handle the peak flows,” Woods said.

He said the plant was able to handle the inflow of sewage and water from recent heavy rains without any sewer overflows.

“Pell City is back to the normal infiltration,” Woods said.

Draper said the sewer system will grow with the city’s growth, but currently the capacity of the Dye Creek Waste Water Treatment facility is more than adequate to handle the demand for sewer services.

Woods said the unused capacity of the plant is capable of accepting waste from an additional 100 fast food restaurants and 1,000 homes without exceeding the treatment capacity of the plant.

“That’s a lot of new sewer to get to that point,” Draper said.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

© 2013